Need a quick getaway?

Welcome to our weekly short term car insurance helpline. This week's top letter comes from a Mr Wayne Smutt who writes;

Dear helpline, I wonder if you can help me. Every week or so me and my mates pinch a car and we use it for robbing an all-night petrol station, after which we take it behind some old factories and set fire to it. I'm the driver and I'm worried about getting caught driving without insurance and so losing my licence. Would short term car insurance be the answer?

Well Mr Smutt that's an interesting question. If you were about to steal a car you would need to get insurance very quickly, but that's not a problem because you can buy a policy 24 hours a day, seven days a week and if you had your laptop or iPad with you it you would only need to get the registration details of the motor that you intended to pinch and it would only take a minute or so to get a quotation for insurance. From what you have told me it would appear that you will only need to insure the car for a single day, but this again isn't a problem because short term car insurance is available for any length of time between a single day and 28 days and you would find the price extremely reasonable. However one major problem would be that you would need to have permission from the owner of the car to drive it, otherwise the insurance would not be valid. It would be far better if, instead of simply stealing the car, you persuaded the owner to sell it to you at a very reasonable price on the understanding that if he did so you would refrain from kicking his head in. That way you would then become the legal owner of the car and would be able to take out a policy. Once you have bought it, which you would do online by credit card, all the necessary documentation would be available for you to download and if possible it would be advisable to carry a small portable printer with you so that you could print these out. In this way, if you got your collar felt by the pigs you would be able to show the evidence that the car was insured, failing which they would be well within their rights to confiscated it on the spot and send it off to a police pound.

It would be a condition of the insurance that you only use the vehicle for social domestic and pleasure purposes, including driving to and from work, and not for the carriage of goods or other people for hire or reward. If you actually make your living robbing late-night petrol stations then you could claim that you were in fact driving to and from work, but you would have to make sure that none of the passengers paid you to carry them, although it will be quite acceptable for them to chip in and make a contribution towards your petrol costs. If you carried any stolen fags or booze in the car these would have to be for your own consumption only, since if you sold them you would violate the 'carrying goods for hire or reward' condition.

When you mention that you would take the car behind some old factories to torch it you would have to be careful to make sure that you didn't take it anywhere near a factory which manufactures highly flammable goods or explosives, a power station or any other hazardous area as this would be in breach of the terms and conditions in the small print, and you couldn't take it off road either. Frankly you would be far better driving it to the nearest public car park and torching it there. If you get one of your mates to set light to it instead of doing it yourself you may be able to claim back the full cost of the car provided that you have taken out fully comprehensive cover but since it only cost you a fiver plus a threat to half kill the previous owner if he didn't sell it to you you may well feel that the claim is not worthwhile . Drive safely